Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is the fourth Christmas Special of ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ and the final episode of the series after Series 5 ended. This isn’t the best Christmas episode I’ve seen and it’s not really a great finale. I don’t suppose it was conceived that ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ would end on this Christmas episode.
But this half-hour episode was pretty entertaining as it has our main characters taking part in an historical pageant organised by Hyacinth. This does have a subtle Christmas feel to it, even though little Christmas references are mentioned. I do wonder why it wasn’t a pantomime instead of a pageant.
In the episode, Hyacinth organises the pageant based on the English Civil War. They rehearse and perform the pageant at the local church hall. Hyacinth sees herself playing Queen Henrietta Maria and Richard plays Charles I. Hyacinth even has a new mobile phone on her and is rather big for 1995.
But when Hyacinth and Richard turn up at the church hall with Elizabeth and Emmet helping out, they find the volunteers absent. Hyacinth tries contacting her volunteers via her mobile phone. I love Emmet’s reactions when Hyacinth calls them and they cut off instantly when she announces herself.
Eventually however, Hyacinth rallies around her family including Onslow, Daisy and Rose to help her out with pageant. She also contacts Violet and Bruce to help out. But having Violet and Bruce is a mistake, since they’re constantly arguing with each other when they turn up at the church hall itself.
Meanwhile at Onslow’s place, Daddy is getting some Spanish dancing lessons with a Mr. Crabtree. It was so funny when the Spanish music played loudly for Onslow and Daisy to wake up out of bed. Onslow and Daisy get concerned when Daddy dances with Mr. Crabtree and have to change his pills.
The episode also features Una Stubbs as Mrs. Moody, a wife of one of Rose’s boyfriends. For me, Una Stubbs was in the ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode ‘The Anniversary’. Mrs. Moody turns up to have a fight with Rose. They continue bickering, even when Rose and the others turn up at the church hall.
Jeremy Gittins and Marion Barron also appear as the Vicar and his wife in this episode. They turn up at the church hall to see how the pageant’s going on. But when they turn up, they see Rose and Mrs. Moody arguing and Daddy and Mr. Crabtree dancing with each other, assuming it’s part of the play.
When Hyacinth does something provocative as the Queen (due to Emmet’s fault in encouraging her), the Vicar objects and demands the play to stop. This results in Hyacinth falling foul of a stage accident and is taken into an ambulance. Hyacinth believes she’ll die, despite everyone saying she won’t.
The episode ends on that note as well as ending the series on that note. I enjoyed the Christmas Special very much. It’s not the most spectacular end to ‘Keeping Up Appearances’, but it’s good it ended on a particularly entertaining episode and one which saw all of the characters come together.
‘Keeping Up Appearances’ has been a very enjoyable BBC comedy series for me. I think the first two seasons were the best for me. Sometimes the episodes felt samey, but it was light-hearted and gentle entertainment for me. Patricia Routledge is superb as Hyacinth and I like the other characters.
‘The Pageant’ rating – 7/10
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